Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases. Circuit Court has the power to issue injunctions, writs of prohibition and writs of mandamus and to hear appeals from District Court and administrative agencies. One judge may serve more than one county within a circuit. Some circuits contain only one county but have several judges, depending on population and caseload. Circuit judges serve in eight-year terms.
Circuit Civil Division
The Circuit Civil Division is the court of general jurisdiction for complaints involving a request for damages of $5,000 or more, including medical malpractice, personal injury, contracts, and property damage in addition to foreclosures, contested probate, property rights and administrative board appeals.
Pleadings that are required by local rule to be time/date stamped may be clocked and filed in the division boxes located in the lobby of the Circuit Civil Suit Desk. Each circuit division is assigned a division box and two boxes are dedicated to foreclosure pleadings. The term “clock and drop” refers to the process of time/date stamping a pleading and filing it with the court by placing in the division box.
Complaints that have a statutory deadline and pleadings may be filed in the Criminal Traffic Division located on the first floor of the Louis D. Brandeis Hall of Justice after 4:30 p.m. and before 8:30 a.m., as well as on weekends and holidays.
Circuit Criminal Division
The Circuit Criminal Division maintains felony grand jury indictments and information cases. This division accepts payments for probation and parole fees, court costs, fines and restitution ordered in Circuit Criminal cases. This division also assists in processing and refunding bail bonds.
District Court is the court of limited jurisdiction and handles juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, violations, traffic offenses, probate of wills, arraignments, felony probable cause hearings, small claims involving $2,500 or less, civil cases involving $5,000 or less, voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse.
Civil District/Small Claims
The Civil District/Small Claims Department handles the intake and processing of civil cases. Note: Civil Cases usually require an attorney. This department processes civil complaints for damages up to $5000, forcible entry/detainer (eviction) petitions and post- judgment remedies such as garnishments and executions. This department also processes administrative board appeals, juvenile permissions to marry, petitions to enforce or prevent cremation, student hardship driver’s license cases and petitions for damages pertaining to childhood sexual abuse/assault.
District Criminal/Traffic Division
The District Criminal/Traffic Division is the largest department within the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk. This division provides bench clerks for all criminal and traffic courts. It also maintains all of the open case files for these courts and houses the bench warrants for 24-hour verification by law enforcement. The Call Center is also located in the District Criminal/Traffic Division.
The Criminal/Traffic Division provides these services:
Posts all types of bail bonds.
Collects fines and costs for court-ordered and prepayable citations.
Accepts proof for citation offenses.
Schedules and reschedules court dates.
Accepts proof of completed volunteer work in lieu of fine payments.
Assists people seeking information about the arrest of family or friends.
Releases liens for property bonds.
Jefferson County Family Court is comprised of 10 divisions and 10 judges. Family Court is involved in the most intimate and complex aspects of human nature and social relations. For that reason, Family Court uses a case management process that distinguishes it from other trial courts. With the One Family, One Judge, One Court approach, cases are presented in a single court, allowing the same judge to hear all matters involving a particular family. This reduces the stress that can arise when individuals are shuttled between courts to resolve a variety of issues.
Because Family Court gives cases involving families and children the highest priority, these cases do not compete with criminal and other civil cases for judicial time. As a division of Circuit Court, which is the highest trial court in Kentucky, Family Court employs full-time judges with the same qualifications as those who serve the other divisions of Circuit Court.
Family Court jurisdiction includes the following:
Dissolution of marriage
Spousal support and equitable distribution
Child custody, support and visitation
Dependency, neglect and abuse
Termination of parental rights
Runaways, truancy, beyond control
Domestic Violence Intake Center
The Domestic Violence Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist victims of domestic violence. The center is staffed by the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk, the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
The center takes both civil emergency protective orders and criminal complaints. The staff at the center can identify the type of protection for which you are eligible and assist with asking the court for that protection.
Victim’s advocates are on staff to provide information about community resources and offer advice based on an assessment of the level of danger present in each situation.
Domestic violence can occur to males and females, children and adults. Domestic violence knows no economic or educational boundaries and is defined in many ways, not just by extreme violence. Threatening and controlling behavior, violence toward pets and destruction of property can all be considered forms of domestic violence.
If you need assistance, contact the Domestic Violence Intake Center to learn about the resources available to you.